3 July, 2017
Why Watchdog Should Be a Part of Your DevOps Monitoring Team
“Alert, fearless, loyal, and highly trainable.” That’s the American Kennel Club’s description of the doberman pinscher breed, which is No. 2 on their list of the top guard dog breeds. Those attributes are also why we chose a doberman to represent Watchdog, our free system vitals monitor that configures itself automatically to alert you on server issues that you didn’t even know to look for.
Let’s talk about why Watchdog is the perfect addition to your team’s DevOps monitoring setup and how it alerts you on things you may not be aware of that you’re missing.
Watchdog is built to be smart, giving you Essential Alerts™, which are notifications on basic hardware vitals that are configured for you automatically out of the box. These alerts are based on hardware system vitals that most DevOps monitoring tools either miss (don’t have the ability to track) or ignore (don’t remind you to set them up or aren’t configured for you automatically). Watchdog saves you and your team from these basic but embarrassing problems, such as swap space issues, ulimit errors, and more. These are all system vitals that can lead to server or app downtime.
Running Watchdog on your servers should be fearless for you because it runs entirely on your server. In fact, after installing the Blue Matador Smart Agent, which Watchdog runs on, your server detects hardware anomalies and generates the report metrics itself. And it does this with the amazingly low overhead that our agent provides (<2% CPU overhead, <2% memory usage, and 90% gzip compression).
Our service never sees any of your data. When your server detects an alert should be triggered, only non-identifying information is sent to our service to send the notification to you. All of the data used in anomaly detection stays on your server the entire time and is non user-identifiable. This also means that Watchdog works well with HIPAA compliance.
Just like a dog’s loyalty is, we’ve decided to make Watchdog free. It’s completely free for users to install and use — forever. Our founders spent years doing on-call DevOps monitoring, day and night. We get the frustration of fighting fires all the time, always balancing the need to fix production, add more monitoring, and do more of the “real” DevOps work you were hired to do. We hope Watchdog becomes a loyal companion as part of your DevOps stack.
Just because Watchdog is configured with alerts out of the box doesn’t mean it can’t learn new tricks. Instead of identifying static thresholds that a server might cross, Watchdog learns what a system should look like, and notifies you when the system is outside the norm.
Here’s some of the Essential Alerts™ that Watchdog is trained to alert on out of the box (or should we say out of the kennel?), without any config on your own:
- CPU: Get notified about CPU usage anomalies that might cause application performance issues.
- Processes: Detect changes in running processes to give you peace of mind that everything is running smoothly.
- Swap Space: Swap space degradates server performance. Watchdog alerts you so you can fix the problem before it escalates into performance issues.
- System Load: Watchdog intelligently monitors system load per processor, alerting you when anomalies occur.
- Hard Disks: Slow or full hard disks can be catastrophic to you and your customers, so Watchdog alerts you before it happens.
- Memory: Watchdog notifies you when memory is exhausted, a key indicator for impending swap space issues.
- Ulimits: Watchdog detects when you get close to your server ulimits, which is when your server is allocating too many resources.
- VM Steal Time: This one is really cool. Watchdog will tell you when your virtual machines are not getting the processor power they need (or that you’re paying for).
- Network: Watchdog detects traffic spikes, which are indicators of increased system load.
Whether you’re a dog lover or not, we invite you to try out Watchdog for free. With Watchdog on your team, you’ll never miss the important alerts about your systems or deal with the aftermath of embarrassing, basic hardware problems again.
Looking to reduce downtime?
Sign up for the Blue Matador platform beta and get access to 30 days of AI-powered centralized log management with Lumberjack and forever-free smart alerts with Watchdog.